India must play a role of an elder brother instead a rivalry in South Asia

Hostile behaviour could lead to Nuclear War

By Syed Atiq ul Hassan

Syed Atiq ul Hassan Pic on WebsiteIt is not the only fact that India has issues with Pakistan, as a matter of reality India has problems with every neighbouring border country.

India has territorial issue with China on Ladakh and had wars with China. Though India has good trade relations with Bangladesh, but it has border issues with them over refugees’ migrations. India never had good relations with Sri Lanka over Tamils. India has territorial issues with Nepal and Bhutan. So, if you look the territorial boundaries of India, it is found that India has a long dispute with every neighbour and a major dispute over Kashmir with Pakistan. The core issue with Indian policy in the region is that India wants to behave like a superpower in the region rather than a good big neighbour. There is no doubt that India has big territory, population and military power compared to its neighbours except China, however, Indian policy makers want every neighbour to respect India as a superpower in the region and take dictation from them over its regional matters. Indian policy makers have never accepted the changing realties of the region. Now, Pakistan is also a nuclear power besides India and the reason for building nuclear arsenals by Pakistan is the insecurity from India since they developed nuclear weapons.

In addition, India is already facing other internal freedom movements within over many parts of the country. Khalistan and Nagaland freedom movements are expanding. Nagaland has celebrated their Independence Day this year on 14th of August. According to sources at least 17 large and 57 small freedom movements exist in India. Khalistan freedom activists held rallies with Kashmiris in major cities of the world this year and they are going for a referendum in 2020.

India is the largest country in the region. There are more Muslims in India than in Pakistan with several other large minorities’ population. If India wishes to maintain its superiority in the region then it must deal with every single regional issue including the major issue of Kashmir with peace and accepting the realities of today. The unfortunate part in Indian leaderships is that many hardliners and the Hindu extremists, even after 7 decades, could not swallow the reality of Pakistan. They still believe on the philosophy of “Akhand Bharat” (United India). They openly talk in their political statements about using the nuclear arms to wipe out Pakistan. The recent statement of Indian foreign minister Rajnath Singh to review its policy of not to first use nuclear weapons if war happens is a very dangerous statement. Indian government must be underestimating the mounting freedom movement of Kashmir. The demonstration in support of Kashmiris has happened in all major western cities, including the US, Australia and New Zealand. This is the first-time demonstration of thousands in support of Kashmiris was staged in Bangladesh. If the situation escalates, war between Pakistan and India on Kashmir could happen and it will not stop. It would lead to other countries being involved and turn out to be a World War 3. Pakistan’s believe for them Kashmir is a main artery therefore if war breaks out Pakistan could go with all their dangerous military options in the first place. Pakistan has now developed short to long range nuclear warhead missiles. And if these weapons are used it would be disaster for mankind with millions of people dead.

In these circumstances, what does the Indian leadership have strategies in mind to deal with the territorial issues with the neighbouring countries including the utmost critical issue of Kashmir remains a question mark. India must realise that 7 decades old freedom movement of Kashmiris and the other freedom movements in India are also now getting momentum particularly movements of Khalistan and Nagaland. In response to the racist and fanatic movement of RSS supported by BJP, the Indian Muslims are also uniting to launch another Pakistan like movement all over India.

For the last 72 years since the creation of Pakistan, India tried to control Kashmir by force, however, could not achieve any success except killings of innocent people of Kashmir and more momentum in the freedom movement of Kashmiris, and now the issue has been internationalized.

The continuous use of force against the people of Kashmir with the intention to kill the self-determination movement by force, has not paid anything to India except more damage to its image globally. Apart from the demands of the Kashmiris, India must understand the strategic and geographical importance of Kashmir for Pakistan as well. Pakistan believes Kashmir is a main artery for its survival and losing Kashmir means direct threat to their own existence. Therefore, the patronage to the Kashmiri freedom fighters and providing them all sort of help including the armaments, as claimed by India, is understandable.

As a matter of fact, it was India on 1st January 1948, lodged a complaint (letter) to the Security Council where India had accepted that the people of Kashmir would be free to decide their future by plebiscite or referendum, hence on April 21, 1948, the Security Council adopted a comprehensive resolution, under Article 35 of the Charter VI, for holding a plebiscite in Kashmir. Both Pakistan and India agreed to have UN intervention and to have the plebiscite.

After the fall of Dhaka where India played a major role against Pakistan and had a war in support of Bangladeshi movement, Pakistan signed the Simla Agreement. The Simla Agreement signed by the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on 2nd July 1972 was much more than a peace treaty seeking to reverse the consequences of the 1971 war and deal the Kashmir dispute with bilateral talks but India then never showed seriousness to engage Pakistan and resolve the issue instead blaming Pakistan on terrorism in Kashmir. You cannot handle and resolve issues by blaming the other in the first place then wait for a friendly environment for bilateral talks.

Even, if India feels, today, that the Security Council resolution is not acceptable to them then again India has to approach to the International community and to Pakistan with some sensible and practical alternates without demonstrating delaying tactics.

As a matter of fact the biggest regional issue in South Asia today is the dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and now this dispute became the focal issue on the world stage and there is a danger of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan which could trigger a 3rd world war and wiping out over a billion people from this planet. Therefore, it might be the last chance for India to maintain the peace in the region as an elder brother in South Asia for the safety of Indians and the South Asian region accepting the ground realities of today. Applying military power and killing of citizens of Kashmir and banning the freedom movement of Kashmiris will escalate the catastrophic war between India and Pakistan.

It is in the favour of the people of India that Indian policy makers should focus on basic needs for their citizens like neat & clean atmosphere, water, power, education, health and jobs rather than making plans for wars and cooperate with neighbours in this regard. (The writer is a Sydney-based journalist and a political analyst, his email address is )

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